Getting your teenager to read can be tricky. Some immediately take to books while others would rather watch movies and videos. We’ve got great news for you: the best graphic novels are for teens.
Graphic novels can be more appealing to some of the youth due to its visual nature. At the same time, it’s an excellent way to encourage them to read. To get you started, here’s a starter list of the best graphic novels for teens.
Written by Craig Thompson and published in 2003, “Blankets” was created as an autobiography. Widely acclaimed as one of the best graphic novels for teens, Thompson’s book was praised for its art, story, and ability to blend both to create a captivating novel.
“Blankets” explores the author’s relationship with his brother, Phil; his parents; and his first love, Raina. The novel looks into the adventures Thompson shares with his brother as they grow up. It likewise dwells into how a teen deals with religion, given that Thompson’s parents are devout Christians. It also features a mature take on the reality of first love.
The graphic novel has won multiple awards, including the 2004 Eisner Award and the 2005 Prix de la critique. “Blankets” is available in 16 languages.
This graphic novel is for those looking to get into classic literature but wants a modern twist. “Frankenstein” is what you exactly need. Gris Grimly masterfully combines his illustrations and stitches them with the words of the original author Mary Shelley.
Many critics and authors have praised this graphic novel adaptation of a classic tale. Director Guillermo del Toro has deemed Grimly as a “graveyard poet” for this work.
American Born Chinese
Here’s something that will give teens a good look into the importance of culture and help them understand the struggles that come with it.
Gene Luen Yang wrote “American Born Chinese” as three different stories. The first is about the legendary Monkey King, Sun Wukong. The second story looks at the life of Jin Wang, a second-generation child of Chinese immigrants who struggles to fit in. The third is about Danny, a young American boy who is troubled by the visits of his Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee.
“American Born Chinese” received numerous awards such as the 2007 Eisner Award and was also nominated for the 2006 National Book Award, the first graphic novel to achieve such a feat. It is also a useful resource for helping students with social-cognitive difficulties in school.
Cartoonist Nidhi Chanani released her debut graphic novel “Pashmina” in 2007. Just like American Born Chinese, it explores themes on culture and tradition in today’s modern world.
The story is about Indian teenager Pri Das who has immigrated with her mother to Orange Country, California. She discovers a shawl—the titular pashmina—that transports her to a version of India of her imagination. The novel is illustrated in black and white when Pri is in the US and shifts to vibrant colors when she is in India. Throughout the tale, she discovers the power in women, including her mother, making their own choices, as well as her own identity.
Pashmina is lauded as the first graphic novel to be entirely created by an Indian American. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) credits this as one of the top 10 best graphic novels for teens in 2018.
This One Summer
Targeted at older readers, “This One Summer” is about two teenage summer friends, Rose and Windy. This particular year, the two start to pay more attention to the lives of the adults around them and explore their interest in love. The result of authors Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s hard work is a beautiful coming-of-age novel that deals with complex themes accompanied by beautiful artwork.
Despite being considered one of the best graphic novels for teens, it has also gotten its fair share of critics. It was number one on the list of books that were most challenged in 2016 due to its inclusion of mature themes such as sexuality, the LGBT, and profanity. The National Coalition Against Censorship has since defended the book, saying that it still deserves the right to be in libraries.
I Am Alfonso Jones
Also intended for older teens, “I Am Alfonso Jones” was written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings. Critics name this the first YA graphic novel that explores police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The story follows Alfonso Jones, a young boy who is shot by a police officer after the latter mistakenly sees a clothes hanger as a gun. In the afterlife, Alfonso finds himself on a train along with other known victims of police brutality. The novel also takes a look at the lives of people who mourned the passing of their beloved Alfonso.
The book has made its way to YALSA’s top 10 graphic novels in 2018, and the New York Public Library named it one of the best graphic novels for teens.
Author and artist Noelle Stevenson initially created Nimona as a webcomic on blogging site Tumblr. This comic also served as Stevenson’s thesis, and she would later go on to publish it as a graphic novel in 2015.
The story follows the adventures of a shapeshifter named Nimona. She plays sidekick to a supervillain named Lord Ballister Blackheart. The novel looks at Nimona’s relationship with her boss and their quests against the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics.
Nimona is a fun novel for teens interested in fantasy and adventure. Nimona was nominated in 2015 for an Eisner Award. In 2015, 20th Century Fox Animation announced that they would be creating a film adaptation, to be released in 2020.
Disclaimer On The Best Graphic Novels For Teens
Some of these novels explore mature themes, and parents are still advised to guide their teens when introducing these books.
Likewise, this is not a definitive list, and there are other well-written and beautifully illustrated novels out there. Take the time to explore graphic novels with your teens so that they can find out what genres interest them the most. Give them a try yourself and discover the beauty of merging words with art.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What graphic novels should I read?
Though there is no confirmation if the following are the best graphic novels for teens, they are known as the top books for guys:
- The Invisibles
- Black Hole
- The Sandman
- Box Office Poison
- Sin City
Where can I find cheap graphic novels?
There are a lot of places to find and buy the best graphic novels for teens and even older people. You can go to a physical book store or book fair. However, you prefer to enjoy the comfort of home shopping, here are the top 3 online shops where you can find great deals on graphic novels:
Book Depository – they have a wide selection of stories. The store offers the lowest price and free delivery.
Amazon – As you know, this store offers a lot of stuff. However, when it comes to graphic novels, they may not be as cheap as what you find in Book Depository.
eBay – If you want to see graphic novels collector’s item, this the place to be!
Why are graphic novels so popular?
Children and teens are loving graphic novels because this type of reading material is easy to read and understand. It has a mixture of text and visual contents that make it attractive for young and middle-aged readers.
Why are graphic novels good for students?
It is beneficial for those who are struggling with reading. With the excellent illustrations that graphic novels have, they help the students to read and understand better. It is especially helpful for students who have weak language skills or developmental delays or disabilities.
What’s the difference between comics and graphic novels?
A comic book has a story to tell over many issues. While graphic novels and even the regular ones are longer compared to comics, visual types of novels usually have storylines wrapped up in just 1 or 2 books.
Why graphic novels are better than books?
There are cases wherein graphic novels tend to be more helpful to kids, but it does not mean that it is always better than regular books. Graphic novels are great for kids who love to read by illustrations. The images summarize a long book. Graphic novels are best for a person with dyslexia or those who have difficulty in reading.
What types of graphic novels are there?
Graphic novels became more popular, especially for teens. You can now find different types of graphic novels in bookstores, libraries, and even online. Check out these five types:
- Superhero Stories
- Non-superhero Stories
- Personal Narratives
What are some of the best graphic novels?
There are many best graphic novels. But we gathered the top and most popular:
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
- Black Hole by Charles Burns
- Daytripper by Fabio Moo
- V for Vendetta
How long should a graphic novel be?
A complete story in a graphic novel usually has around 100 pages or less.
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